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Topics TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH Volume 32, Number 2
Summer 2016 ...............................................
Staff, Vestry, & Officers Rector | The Reverend Brad Mullis Parish Administrator | Sarah Wilkinson Organist/Choirmaster | Sam Holt Director of Youth Ministry | Chris Fulks Preschool Director | Sherry George
In This Issue
Senior Warden | Chris Shoobridge Junior Warden | Rob Hites Parish Life | Tommy Allison Outreach | Rowdy Armistead Newcomers & Evangelism | Jerrie Greene Finance | Nimocks Haigh Youth | Trevla Haire Adult Ed | Richard Holshouser Young Family Ministry | Amy Lawton Pastoral Care | Carol Leach Communications | Bud Martin Music & Worship | Joanne Schinaman
From the Editor
Not necessarily beach-reading material, but great books nonetheless for your summer.
Liked, Loved & Shared
Ecuador Diocese Helps its Devastated Country
Around the Parish
For the Record
Food for Thought
Vestry Secretary | Susan Cardwell Treasurer | Jim Lawton Assistant Treasurer | Evie Caldwell Topics Editor | James D. Hogan ...............................................
Trinity Topics is a quarterly publication of Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesville, NC. The views and opinions that appear in this publication are not necessarily those of the church, vestry, diocese, or The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. ÂŠ 2016 Trinity Episcopal Church. ...............................................
CONTACT US 801 Henkel Road / PO Box 1103 Statesville, NC 28677-1103 (704) 872-6314 email@example.com
Following a massive earthquake, the Diocese of Litoral works to minister to its neighbors.
10 Okay, So Now What?
Father Brad writes about the post-Easter slump and how the Gospel of John provides a great answer to the question, now what?
12 Comfort through Devotion Betty Coltham and her service dog, Penny, help local hospice patients in difficult times.
14 Curry at Holy Land Summit The Presiding Bishop joins a group working to find peace in the Holy Land
16 Taking the Church Outside Worshipping in the church walls is important, but so is taking Godâ€™s love outside those walls.
18 I Went to a Strip Club
Anna McCarthy shares the poignant story of what happens when you bring Christian fellowship into an unlikely place.
Submissions We welcome your submissions or ideas for articles or photos as well as your comments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your input. Top: Of course we wear red for Pentecost Sunday. Back cover: Trinity was full for worship on March 27. trinitysvl.org | 3
FROM THE EDITOR
“Just Put It Where They Ain’t”
hen I was a young boy, I joined a Boy Scout troop up in Harmony, North Carolina. Ours was a bit of a rag-tag group, loosely organized but always fun, and we met every Monday at a Methodist church off the side of Highway 901. Our Monday night meetings consisted of a few formalities—recitations of the Scout Oath and Law, followed by a minimal business agenda—before we broke into our patrols. Soon afterward, though, it was time for volleyball. Of all the activities in which a clay-soil scout troop could engage, men’s (boys’, really) volleyball had to have been the least likely. It was our tradition, though, when the weather got warm, to play as many games as we could after our meeting. I know my father waited several times for a match to finally end, his headlights sweeping across the yard to our court. At one of those late matches, the score neck and neck to the end, it came my turn to serve. The score had been tied up, but we’d just eked out a point after a long back and forth. The next point would win the game for us. We eyed the other side—a well-staffed group of boys, each pretty capable on the volleyball court—and quickly huddled to draw up a strategy. “Who do you want me to serve it to?” I asked, trying to figure out what my best odds were. There wasn’t a weak link among our opponents. “Nobody,” one of our patrol leaders replied. “What do you mean, nobody?” “Don’t hit it to nobody,” the boy said. He looked across the court, then handed the ball to me. “Just put it where they ain’t.” What happened next can only be described through the gracious lens of adolescent legend: I served the ball high—sky high, as much of a rainbow shot as I 4 | Topics Summer 2016
could muster—and it soared up and upward, over the net, and then fell with startling speed—right into the empty middle of the court, where every member of the other team watched it bounce on the ground. We won. That bit of improvisational wisdom—Just put it where they ain’t—has stuck with me for a long time. And as I was assembling this quarterly edition of Trinity Topics, one which I hadn’t any notion of what its abiding theme might become, it wasn’t until late in the process that I realized so much of what’s being discussed in these pages involves taking the church to a place where, if you’ll pardon the phrase, it ain’t. Jenneffer Sixkiller is back, this time writing about longtime Trinity member Betty Coltham, whose work with hospice patients and their families takes the church into the depths of grief. Anna McCarthy from Kansas City writes a hilarious—and poignant—article about taking a ministry into, of all places, a strip club. Our youth members volunteered at Fifth Street. Our Presiding Bishop is working to bring peace to the Holy Land. Father Brad shines the light on the Gospel of John to help us find the way in the denouement that inevitably follows the thrill of Easter. These are all stories about taking the church to places where we, the church’s people, are sometimes in short supply. As I write in an article in this issue, we are peace and love, and it’s up to us to get up and go out into the world to bring the good news to others. We Episcopalians tend to disband over the summer, off on vacations or away to visit family. As we scatter, though, I hope you’ll consider where your travels take you as an opportunity to be love and peace. Take the church with you when you make your journey. Look for somewhere the church ain’t. You’ll know when it’s the right spot. —James D. Hogan
Liked, Loved, & Shared Each quarter we feature a quotes, images, and comments shared on our social media channels, plus your letters, thoughts, and cards. Send your comments to email@example.com
Pics from around Trinity Left to right, from the top: Trinity preschoolers send a warm “thank you” for their new playground equipment; Ginger Hester and Chris Fulks lead our youth at Fifth Street Ministries; Susan Cardwell spoke to St. Stephens in April about DOK; youth at Kanuga; a cold rain couldn’t keep our oyster roaster down; the oyster roast crowd enjoys great food and the Misty River Band.
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Youth Members, Outreach team stay busy with service
Artist Series closes out 2016 concert season
embers of Trinity’s youth team have been on the go this spring, making a trip to Kanuga with fellow Episcopal youth and also finding time to serve our community at Fifth Street Ministries. At Fifth Street, the group helped package meals for local folks in need of something to eat. Meanwhile, the Outreach Team sent 10 volunteers to work with the Apostles Build project with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat was also the recipient of nearly $1,500 raised through Trinity’s annual Yard Sale. This year’s yard sale was another big hit, and we appreciate all the help given and items donated. 6 | Topics Summer 2016
he Trinity Artist Series finished its fourth season celebrating visual and performing arts on May 8, when the series featured the Piedmont Piano Trio in concert. The Trio, featuring Alan Black on cello, pianist David Gilliland, and Joseph Meyer playing violin, entertained a Mother’s Day crowd, followed by the series’ signature “Meet the Artists” reception in Trinity’s Hospitality Hall.
Other events this season included Statesville native and celebrated painter Robert Steele, who composed a demonstration painting following his lecture; Sheila Kay Adams, a balladeer and storyteller; classical guitarist Joe Pecoraro; and Davidson pianist Cynthia Lawing, who performed with her husband, trumpeter Bill Lawing. Attendance picked up this season, as the series continued
to grow its audience base in the Statesville region, and the series committee, under the leadership of Chairwoman Anne Rhyne, is already hard at work finalizing the details for the 2016-17 season. More details about the forthcoming season, including the opportunity to buy season tickets at discount, will be available soon on trinityartistseries.org.
Faith-sharing suppers return around the country
n the Diocese of North Carolina, Go Speak started on May 15, 2014, when small groups of 8-10 Episcopalians—more than 800 people total—gathered in homes and other informal settings across the Diocese. Under the direction of a trained moderator, participants practiced sharing personal stories of how God has moved in their lives. These gatherings were inspired by the challenge to go deep, go speak and go do former Bishop Michael Curry issued during the 198th Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina. As a diocese and in communion with five other dioceses, we took up his challenge to go speak—to share our faith.
CALENDAR May Trinity Episcopal will continue to meet Bishop Curry's challenge this year with our Go Speak event on June 15 during our monthly Parish Supper. Question cards will guide the sharing, so there's no pressure to craft a tale beforehand. Participants will listen to each other without questioning or feedback, so the listening becomes as active a process as the telling.
22: Rogation Sunday service at Allison Woods 26: Preschool graduation 29: Rite 13 and Senior Celebration June
Trinity is a busy parish, and we rely on volunteers—but we could always use your help
15: Go Speak event during Parish Supper
20: Outreach team meeting
olunteer: “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task” First, and foremost, a big THANK YOU goes out to all the volunteers of Trinity Episcopal Church. Volunteering is an important position in our church. We have volunteers such as Altar Guild, Choir, decorating the church for special season, Flower Guild, helping in the office, garage sale, grounds cleanup, etc. We have Parish Suppers and Family Fun Night once a month and various other events, Unfortunately, we need other than the same
people who volunteer time after time. We know these volunteers are happy to do it, but all the time; come on! These same people do get somewhat tired and sometimes they need help. They need to know they can count on others that can carry out their excellent work. We do need more help regarding the Parish Supper, Family Fun Night, Altar Guild, helping with decorating the church for Easter and Christmas, and no doubt other occasions. There are wonderful people who run themselves thin by volunteering in so many ways. Credit
goes out to those persons who volunteer so much. Without them organizations and churches would go kaput. So, if you have never volunteered for an event or function, try it. See how rewarding it is to serve God in many capacities. Volunteering gives me, personally, a very rewarding feeling; in that I find that I am paying back the Good Lord for what he has done for me. Again, thank you volunteers for your dedication. GOD BLESS! —Joanne Schinaman
27-30: Vacation Bible School, 9am till noon (Note: dates tentative)
Editors note: look for weekly schedules and more up-to-date calendar items in Trinity’s weekly email or our monthly Topics addendum, which is also distributed through email. To sign up for our mailing list, visit trinitysvl.org
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FROM THE BOOKSHELF
Relationships, Social Darwinism, and Cuba You might not pack these for the beach, but do put them on your list. Four books from authors with ties to the Episcopal Church are sure to please
I Win, We Lose
Cuba,More or Less
Rev. Jabriel S. Ballentine
John Hall Snow
Even if we’re not athletes or die-hard sports fans, most of us understand the dynamics that shape teams, games, and championships. Relationships are a lot like sports, yet we tend to be confused, overwhelmed, and defeated by the process of finding our soul mate. Rev. Jabriel S. Ballentine, a rector at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Orlando, Florida, shares his insight as a sports fan, priest, and hopeless romantic to remove the mystery from building successful relationship. Jahbread Publishing
Snow, “preacher in residence” at Christ Church, died in 2008; this recently discovered manuscript contains reflections and observations from Snow’s lifetime obsession regarding the effects of competition in marriage, racial relations, education, social and religious institutions. Though this manuscript is somewhere around 35-40 years old, it could have been written yesterday with Donald Trump in mind. While we divide the world, pushing the majority of humanity to the margins, Snow reminds us that it is in the margins that we find Jesus. Wipf and Stock
When the waning days of the Castro regime meet the diplomatic ambition of President Barack Obama, strange things happen on the island. In six trips to Cuba, often as the guest of Episcopal Bishop Griselda Delgado, newspaper reporter, Zachary Reid put together a story that shows Cuba for everything that it is, and isn’t, at the dawn of a political change that has been decades in the making. At time insightful, at times cranky, Cuba, More or Less is a trip through the Cuba that doesn’t show up on package tours or in newspaper stories. Koehler Books
While there is truth in the idea that our past shapes our future, the gospel is all about the counterintuitive promise that God is shaping us right now toward God’s vision of who we will become. This book will have special resonance for people at turning points in their lives. Career changes, loss of a loved one, graduation, illness, divorce, birth of a child, entering middle or later years: Life is filled with turning points at which we feel compelled to tell our story in a new and different way. Morehouse Publishing
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Ecuador Diocese Helps Devastated Country
The Diocese of Litoral helps the people of Ecuador recover from a massive, deadly earthquake.
aturday, May 14 marks four weeks since the 7.8magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador causing the death of more than 650 people, injuring more than 4,600 and displacing some 30,000. Recovery from the loss of life and the estimat-
ed $2 to $3 billion in damages will take years. Over the past month, the Episcopal Diocese of Litoral, which serves the coastal area hardest hit, conducted a survey of the communities surrounding its churches in the hardest hit area, and
has developed a comprehensive plan to care for the short- and long-term needs of people living in those communities. The dioceseâ€™s plan covers four courses of action: providing food; health and medical care; spiritual care; and reconstruction and housing improvement. In Manta, a central Pacific coastal community a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of Guayaquil, where the diocese has its head-
quarters, four churches, some of them incurring significant damage, have opened their doors to parishioners and community members. In the immediate aftermath of the May 16 earthquake, the diocese received support from Episcopal Relief & Development that has allowed it to provide food, clothing, first aid supplies, clean water, household items and emergency repair assistance to 300 families. (continued)
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The Episcopal Church has two dioceses in Ecuador: Litoral, which covers the hard-hit coastal region; and the Quito-based Diocese of Ecuador Central, where the April 16 earthquake’s tremors were felt in the capital, Quito. “We were shocked and saddened by the destruction caused by the recent earthquake in Ecuador,” said George Kurz, a member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Donelson, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, and co-chair of the Committee for Continuing Work in the Diocese of Litoral. “Some of our churches have had companion church relationships with churches in the hard-hit Manta area for 10 -15 years,” he said, noting that just a couple of hours before the May 16 earthquake, St. Philip’s hosted a spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser for a medical clinic members were scheduled to run in Ecuador in June. “While we have service projects every year, we have found that once we arrive in Ecuador, the most important thing is to be open to direction from the Holy Spirit and try to respond as best we could,” he said. Donors can direct support Episcopal Relief & Development’s disaster fund. — Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service. Reprinted with permission.
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Post Easter: Okay, So What Now? We glory in Christ’s resurrection at Easter. But in the joyful times—and the struggles—that follow, where can we find our center? The answer might be in the Book of John. By the Rev. Brad Mullis
lleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! The Easter acclamation resounded from Trinity Church and from the hearts of multitudes of believers on March 27. Despite memorably dreary weather, that Easter Day with joy was bright, as the hymn says. I wish you all the joy and hope that Easter promises. I don’t know about you, but Easter always leaves me with the “OK, so what now?” question. After a Lenten season of emphasis on spiritual discipline and penitence, what is the Easter theme? Not that we in any way forget the ways we tried to grow in Lent, but what can we emphasize after the great celebration in the way that we stress a Lenten discipline? Does that make some sense? Part of me knows how to live in Lent. Repenting is something I’ve had plenty of practice at. But how do I live after Easter?
The last chapter of John’s gospel seems to wrestle with that same question. The action takes place some weeks after Jesus’s second appearance to the group when Thomas had joined them, but before the forty days were over and Jesus ascended into heaven. The disciples had gone back to their pre-disciple life of fishing. And on this particular expedition, things were not going well. They had fished all night and caught nothing. Then a mysterious stranger appears on the beach, advising them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Well, the haul of fish is so great that they can’t bring them all in. At that point they knew, “It is the Lord.” They scrambled ashore with one hundred and fifty-three fish. After a breakfast of bread and fish, Jesus asks Peter three times, “do you love me?” Peter replies each time, “yes.” These questions represented Pe-
ter’s opportunity to claim Jesus after having denied him three times just a few weeks before. But after every “yes” that Peter offers, Jesus tells Peter to do something. “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” If you love me, do these things. Show your love. I hear an echo of what Jesus said the night of the last supper: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Perhaps Peter recalled those words too. In the resurrection God authenticated and validated the life and ministry of Jesus. As Jesus’ hands and feet in the world, we are to be about that same work, participating in God’s great clean-up operation in the world. So as we live together in the power of the resurrection, I invite you to hear Jesus’ call to tend and feed the lambs around us. As a congregation we have had several opportunities this spring to serve.
The Rev. Brad Mullis (left) is rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, April 16, we worked on a Habitat house, so that a family may have a decent place to live. On Sunday evening, April 17, we served supper at Fifth Street Ministries. On May 7 we held our annual yard sale to benefit that Habitat House. And in a month or so our Outreach Garden will be producing bags full of food bound for Iredell Christian Ministries.
And these don’t include the opportunities God puts before each of us every day to feed lambs and tend sheep. So, I guess my word to you as we live after Easter is Live! Love! Serve! Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know eve15 When they had finrything; you know that I love you.” ished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where that I love you.” He said to him, you would; but when you are old, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said you will stretch out your hands, to him, “Simon, son of John, do you and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to love me?” He said to him, “Yes, go.” Lord; you know that I love you.” 19 (This he said to show He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” by what death he was to glorify 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.” you love me?” Peter was grieved
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Comfort Through Devotion Trinity member Betty Coltham and her dog, Penny, offer comfort to patients and their families in their toughest moments. By Jenneffer Sixkiller Mrs. Betty Coltham leads an exuberant life of service. From her early days growing up in England, her grandmother lived by shining example what it means to be a servant of God. Betty attended an historic Anglican church from birth, it was built in 1195. She was also baptized, confirmed and married in that same church. She is honored to serve our Lord in the alter guild, chalice bearing, leading prayers, and singing in the choir. Growing up in the Wild West, it is hard for me to imagine being surrounded by such history and tradition. Betty and her husband, Michael, have been part of Trinity Episcopal Church for over twenty years. They met while they were both in nursing school
in England—she was slightly ahead of him in their class. Her first stint at patient care was as a neighborhood midwife, traveling to women’s homes by bicycle; that was her favorite part, she says. The Colthams have four girls and a boy, and they traveled extensively while their family was young, working around the globe. From England, they went to Australia, then to the U.S., living in Texas, Georgia, and settling in North Carolina. Throughout her life, she has continued Godly service in her roles at church, home, work, and in the community. After retiring from nursing, she began to teach the two year old’s class at Trinity’s Preschool, along with her eldest daughter,
Jane. Those busy, vibrant children found a perfect match! Betty’s desire to keep moving is fulfilled by teaching. Serving others is also a natural extension of Betty’s heart. Nursing is a career which requires daily selfsacrifice, so it’s no surprise that she became involved with hospice patient care in 2011. Hospice provides medical care for those whose illness is unlikely to be cured, but Betty’s focus is on the practical support for the caregivers during the patient’s illness, and grief support after the death. Along with “Penny,” her service dog, Betty brings comfort to the suffering family. “Betty Coltham originally started volunteering in 2011. She received the Presidential Gold Award for
volunteers this past March at our Annual Business and Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. This award is given to the volunteer once they have given 500 plus hours. Betty visits Gordon Hospice House with her pet therapy dog ‘Penny’ twofour times every week. Betty and Penny walk around Gordon Hospice House offering visits to our patients and their families. She is a very dedicated volunteer and we feel blessed that she is a part of our organization,” says Barbara Martin, coordinator of Volunteer Services for Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County. Betty also visits seven nursing homes a month, including an Alzheimer’s’ unit in Taylorsville. Volunteering in her immediate community is admira-
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Bishop Curry Joins Holy Land Peacemaking Summit
Penny, Mrs. Coltham’s service dog.
ble, but traveling such great distances shows real sacrifice. ‘Penny,’ Mrs. Coltham’s service dog, is also treated with the utmost care and devotion. To qualify as a registered International Therapy Dog, there are several requirements; her physical fitness must be maintained, she must be gentle, and not jump or bark at sudden noises. Her handler must also be of good character; of this, we can be sure. Another of her accomplishments is also being an American Kennel Club Grand Champion runner-up. She only needs two more points to achieve this honor. Just like Betty, God loves all his beings. In Job chapter 12, God reminds us that animals know His works, that we can learn from them. He also provides for every creature, and in Psalm 104 we are commanded to look after them. Betty’s devotion to ‘Penny’ reflects her obedience and sensitivity to all God’s creatures. Mrs. Coltham’s legacy is inspiring. Her energy and enthusiasm for service renews my own devotion, and helps open my eyes to see where else I can be of assistance, in compassionate gratitude.
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Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (center) introduces Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (left) to His Beatitude Theophilus III, Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine (right), as the Rev. Robert Edmunds, the Episcopal Church’s Middle East partnership officer, looks on.
The Presiding Bishop travels to unprecedented summit seeking peace in Israel and Palestine
piscopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry joined more than 100 church leaders from the Middle East and the United States at the Carter Center last month for an unprecedented summit focused on seeking a lasting two-state solution for
peace in the Holy Land and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. “We honor the land that witnessed to the life and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ affirming his call to justice, peacemaking and to the ministry of justice and reconciliation,”
the leaders said in a statement at the conclusion of their April 1920 summit at the Atlanta-based center founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn. Curry described the event as an “unprecedented summit … to look at how
we can be a force for good” for Israelis and Palestinians “to find a way forward and to help our governments find a way forward for a just and lasting peace for all of the people of the Holy Land.” Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Curry were among the Palestinian and American leaders representing all the major Christian churches in the Holy Land and the United States at the two-day summit, titled “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence.” Curry said he was particularly struck by the words of the Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun, a Palestinian Christian woman, who is trying “often against incredible odds to help Bethlehem truly be the city where Christ not only was born, but where the presence of Christ and the love of God is really known for all.” For more than three decades the Carter Center – motivated by its motto of “waging peace, fighting disease, building hope” – has hosted landmark events committed to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. The center also has offices in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza. “We feel this is one of the most important meetings at the Carter Center this year,” said Carter, addressing the conference. The religious leaders affirmed their belief that a two-state solution “in which both Israelis and Pal-
estinians can live in neighborly relations and at peace with each other, must be viable politically, geographically, economically and socially.” Following the SixDay War in 1967, Israel has largely controlled East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights in what are collectively identified as the Israeli-occupied territories. The leaders said in their statement that any two-state solution must be based on the pre-1967 borders and the cessation of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories. “The continuing occupation of Palestinian lands beyond the 1967 borders and measures and laws that continue to constrain and control the Palestinian population, in contravention of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, must end,” they said. “These actions prevent economic and social development, and constrain the exercise of political rights. We need to focus on bringing a new sense of equality, inclusivity, and mutual respect among all the citizens of the Land regardless of religious affiliation or ethnicity.” Carter, who as U.S. president helped to broker the Camp David Accords in 1978 that formed a peace partnership between Israel and Egypt and returned control of the Sinai Peninsula, told the leaders that he fully agreed with this approach. “But it will not have any effect unless the
churches and members here work on them jointly, enthusiastically and aggressively,” he said. The Episcopal Church has long supported a two-state solution in which a secure and universally recognized state of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people, with a shared Jerusalem as the capital of both. The Episcopal Church’s most recent stance on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking was taken at General Convention in June 2015. Resolution B013 “reaffirms the vocation of the church as an agent of reconciliation and restorative justice,” and recognizes that “meaningful reconciliation can help to engender sustainable, long-lasting peace and that such reconciliation must incorporate both political action and locally driven grassroots efforts.” Resolution C018 expresses solidarity with and support for Christians in Israel and the Israelioccupied territories; affirms the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in healing, education, and pastoral care; and affirms the work of Christians engaged in relationship building, interfaith dialogue, nonviolence training, and advocacy for the rights of Palestinians. The resolution also urges Episcopalians to demonstrate their solidarity by making pilgrimage to Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories and learning from fellow Christians in the region.
In Atlanta, the religious leaders also encouraged Christians to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land to understand more deeply the history and nature of the conflict. In addition to official Episcopal Church policy, several dioceses and networks also are engaged in Holy Land partnerships and advocacy, particularly in supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and its more than 30 social service institutions throughout Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories. These institutions include schools, hospitals, clinics and centers for people with disabilities. The diocese and the institutions also are supported by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a nonpolitical, nonprofit organization established in 1985. The Palestine Israel Network, part of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, has campaigned for more vigorous church policy to end the occupation, but the Episcopal Church has not supported its calls for boycotts and divestment against Israeli companies that profit from the occupation. Instead, the Episcopal Church supports a policy of positive investment. Dawani addressed the Atlanta conference on the goal of churches in interfaith dialogue. “As a community we seek to act justly and walk humbly with our God. We seek to promote justice for everyone,” (continued on page 21)
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Taking the Church Outside By James D. Hogan
y now there’s been a few days glorious enough to remind you of when you were in school, and you begged the teacher to take class outside. There’s a thrill in that—taking something ordinarily indoors and transposing it outdoors. I knew its power when I taught, and eventually I realized it was something that ought to be exercised regularly, even when the weather wasn’t just so. Every Friday, my Creative Writing students and I trekked into the woods, down by a stream with a waterfall, to sit and think, to write alone and read together. Those Friday walks became a binding theme to our course; my students grew closer while we watched the seasons turn, week by week. With that in mind, consider the power of what happens when we take church outside. No, not Rogation Day, when Trinity holds its services in a clearing in the woods. Rather, I’m thinking of when the church leaves its four walls behind and carries God’s love into the world outside of them. It’s a powerful thing. As we are reminded perhaps not often enough, God’s people are his hands and feet in the world. As Christians, we can kneel and pray and wait for God, but more to the point, we can also get up and go out and do God’s work. Send us now into the world in peace, we pray at the end of every Eucharist service, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you. Maybe we ought to underline the words “send us.” What happens when we take the church into the world? One of Father Brad’s homilies earlier this year got me thinking about that. Yes, doing God’s work takes courage, and yes it requires humbling ourselves into a certain vulnerability, the likes of which tend to make us uncomfortable to the point we typically don’t pursue it. And yet—what is the feeling of seeing someone grieving find peace? The power of seeing the hungry nourished? The magnitude of watching the homeless sheltered? Have you ever felt such things? Before we get there, though, we have to go outside and look. That was one of the harder lessons to teach when my students and I took our Friday walks. How do we detach ourselves first from the indoors, and second from our own preoccupations, in order that we better perceive what’s around us? And, likewise, how do we throw aside the creature comforts of our daily walks in life to go exploring the people and places we don’t often traffic? Practice helps. The more you go into the woods, proverbially speaking, the easier it becomes to adjust your senses. Just as my students grew better at pulling out their earbuds and hearing birdsong, so too can we grow the wisdom to see in spiritually unfiltered light the world around us. As I often told my students, it’s one thing to sit inside a cinder block classroom under fluorescent lighting and read a musty copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s quite another to lose your breath hiking up a steep hill in the forest, chasing a springtime brook, and turning over Emerson’s phrase, I am part or particle of God. Likewise, there’s a great dividend waiting for us when we exercise those lessons we’ve heard over and over from the church lectern. We are the peace, and we are the love. All it takes are strength and courage to get outside. trinitysvl.org | 17
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while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs. That sentence alone sounds strange, but hang with me. At first I was a little hesitant—and not for reasons you might think. I love people, especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my calling. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile broken people can be. I know how insensitive the church can be. I was uneasy. However, this group of women weren’t just any pastors wives. They had a vision, one that longed to love on women whom society had thrown aside. It reminded me a lot of Jesus. So, I jumped on it. Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver meals and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Now, I’ve had my fair share of time (back in the day) in bars and such, but I’d never been to a strip club. I was totally unaware of what I was walking into. We arrived and the bouncer ushered us back into the dressing room where we introduced ourselves and began distributing gifts and food. I was shocked by what I saw.
And I’ll tell you why: I was raised to believe that no good comes from places like that. Which is probably true on many levels. (I wouldn’t suggest making a strip club your go-to for date nights) But, I was filled, as were many kids who grew up Christian, with fear about places like this. That “those people” inside were heathens and doing all kinds of sinful, shameful things. Which, again, is true of strip clubs. And bars. And many other places. Even churches. But, these girls—these lovely, girls—were so…normal. As I talked with one in particular, she reminded me of any young mom I’d talk to in the school pick up line. Minus the fact that she didn’t have much clothing on—I tried not to focus on that. (Side note: Oh dear God, she’s talking about strippers in a Christian publication and talking about them being half naked. We should not even be thinking such things! First, my sweet friend, it’s okay to laugh. Like seriously, it’s okay. The fact that four pastors wives and their pregnant friend even went into a strip club is kinda funny. If you’re going to walk with Jesus, you’re going to find yourself in some pretty awkward situations. And if you
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don’t have a sense of humor, you’re toast. Like seriously. So, I give you full permission to go ahead and laugh at the mental picture.) They showed pictures of their children, talked of pregnancy (I was pregnant at the time) chatted about trying to get back in shape after having a baby, etc. It was so normal. But, as we talked, and I looked into their eyes, I saw women—young, broken women—who had stories, probably much like mine or yours. We didn’t stay long. They had a shift to work, and we didn’t want to overstay our welcome. But, as we left, they thanked us. More than once. As I drove home, I totally fell apart in my car.
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Not because I felt sorry for them. Not because I thought I was so much better than they were. Not because I pitied their circumstance. I cried because my heart was broken . One thing the Lord continues to do in my heart, is humble it. Like over and over. Countless times, I think I’m going in to minister to some lowly soul and then I walk out, completely undone because the condition of my own heart was exposed. I wept before God asking for His forgiveness in the way I had viewed women in that profession. Because, people, that could have been me. It could have been any of us. Had my journey taken a few different turns,
I very well could have been on the receiving end of that encounter.
I had my baby shortly after that visit and didn’t get to go back for the monthly visits to see the women. I stayed in contact with one of the women organizing it and every so often, I ask her how it’s going. They have been visiting them for a year now and received permission to leave a prayer box where the women could leave prayer requests. The first few times they collected the box it had silly things written in it, but they continued to leave it there. Over the following weeks and months (as they continued to love on these
women), the prayer requests got real. Real situations. Real hurt. Real needs. Last time my friend and I got together, I asked about the strip clubs and this is what she said: Her eyes always, always fill with tears when we talk about it because God is so in love with these precious women. She said, “The women are starting to reach out more. I’ve been texting with one and getting to connect with her a bit deeper.” We talked a bit more and she turned to me and said something that I am still rattled by: “You know what one of them said to me last time?” “What?”
“She said that she was so glad we come to visit them because we’re not like the other churches” I said, “what did she mean by that?” She said, “Apparently other churches send them hate mail. All the time.” People—church—WHAT ARE WE DOING?! Did we forget (or do we just sing it songs) that Jesus was a friend of sinners? Did we forget that it’s his kindness that leads us to repentance? Did we forget that it is ONLY the blood of Jesus that makes us holy? That all of our good Bibleloving stuff is like filthy rags without Him? Jesus was unafraid of walking in love to the least of the least. Like the scum of the scum. He walked right in, sat down and ate with sinners. Gross, ugly sinners. And the religious hated Him for it. A few years ago, I met with another pastor’s wife across the country who shared with me a similar ministry, although after months of developing relationships with the dancers, they asked the owners a crazy question. They asked to hold a Bible study. IN THE STRIP CLUB. Just for the dancers. Surprisingly, they were given a yes. (Something about it building morale in the employees, but whatever. It was a yes!)
So, they started leading a Bible study in the club. But, something was missing. And those ministering knew it. The women they were ministering to needed to be led by a man—not because these women were incapable, but because of the damaged, skewed image they had of men. They needed to see a man who was safe—they needed a man who knew Jesus. This woman’s husband (who was a pastor) stepped up and took on the challenge. For months the dancers wouldn’t even look him in the eye, but he kept showing up. Soon, one by one, the women met Jesus through this pastor’s humble, gentle leadership. There were prayer sessions. Women were set free, and many went on to lead healthy, restored lives. All because this group of women and this pastor were unafraid to go where God was leading them. I’m not suggesting that we all have this calling. I am not the Holy Spirit. What I am saying to you is that if Jesus were here, walking among us, wouldn’t it be just like him to walk into the most un-Christlike place (strip club or whatever) and completely freak the religious folk out? Just a thought. He loved then. He loves now. But, he can only reach as far as you and I are willing to go.
About the Author Anna McCarthy is and the author of Forgiveness is Not an Option and founder of One Voice Ministries. She lives with her husband and their four children in Kansas City. As a speaker and writer, she also publishes the blog justajesusfollower.com, where this article first appeared.
(Continued from page 15) he said. “We are not seeking privileges or protection for our own communities. That is a trap which has brought devastation to various religious communities in our region. Everyone loses when one group is privileged. Even the privileged group loses in the end.” In crafting their policy and adopting their action statement, the leaders said their focus was on “the example and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ on peacemaking [and] the dignity owed to all created in God’s image and kindling the hope that some day there will be a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land.” Another source of major concern is the number of Christians who have left the Holy Land in search of better opportunities and more secure lives overseas. “Churches and church-related organizations need to work together proactively to protect the existing and future presence of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land,” the leaders said. “The current absence of a just political solution affects their presence and causes many of these Palestinian ‘living stones’ (Luke 19:40) to seek dignified life in freedom outside the troubled Holy Land. A just and peaceful solution is imperative and will contribute to protecting the presence and active participation and involvement of the Palestinian ‘living stones’ in the Holy Land and into a peaceful future.” Other Episcopalians who attended the summit and signed the statement include the Rev. Canon Chuck Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Robert Edmunds, the Episcopal Church’s Middle East partnership officer; and Sharon Jones, the presiding bishop’s executive assistant. — Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.
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FOR THE RECORD
FOR THE RECORD
April 20, 2016 Members present were Chris Shoobridge, Rob Hites, Bud Martin, Carol Leach, Rowdy Armistead, Tommy Allison, Amy Lawton, Joann Schinaman, Trevla Pulliam, and Nimocks Haigh; Brad Mullis, rector and Susan Cardwell, clerk. The meeting opened with prayer. There were no email motions since the last meeting. A motion was made by Carol Leach and seconded by Chris Shoobridge to pass the minutes for the March meeting as presented. The motion passed. Finance-Nimocks Haigh The finances are still doing well. Rector’s Report-Brad Mullis Appreciation was expressed to all who helped with Holy Week. The upcoming calendar was reviewed. Pastoral Care-Carol Leach RSVP by Wednesday for the Senior Lunch to be held Sunday, April 27, 2016. Youth-Trevla Pulliam The youth will be serving again at 5th Street Ministries on Sunday, April 27, 2016. There will be a car wash fundraiser in May. There are two seniors this year, Madison Peters and Jackie Warren.
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The year is flying by...already one third in the books! The vestry recap below is simply positive. All ministries are funded and our budget is in great shape. Our year to date surplus exceeds last years of the same period. It's important to remember that we are always "front loaded" because of members who like to prepay. This is helpful as it removes any pressure from our cash flow, but we also understand that we will have deficits like the $3,178 reported in April. Early in this assignment, I was taught that Trinity members always complete their pledges. Sure there are unavoidable exceptions,
but year after year, we realize a very high percentage of our pledge budget. The value of being able to depend on the pledge budget is immeasurable. Also, our plate collections are noticeably higher this year and that also enhances our ability to expand our reach and our many ministries. We anticipated a tight year for budget and funding however, so far, we are responding well to the challenge. Thanks to all...we are blessed! The year to date surplus through April as shown above is $37,070. This Includes $10,779 we transferred from the Operating Fund to the Memorial Fund, in March. Excluding this transfer, the April
Young Families-Amy Lawton There will be a Family Fun Night Friday, May 13, 2016 and a Parish Supper Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Outreach-Rowdy Armistead The beneficiary of the Yard Sale will be determined at the Outreach Committee meeting this week. Music and Worship-Joann Schinaman
30 surplus would be $47,849. This year we have received extraordinary prepayments through the first four months. We also received prepayments of 2016 in December 2015 and booked in January to 2016 as current year receipts. Plate collections continue to be excellent and at $3,489 are at 173% of the first four months of last year and 142% of the 2016 budgeted amount. Adding to the good report, total expenses from all areas and ministries were less than budget for the month as well as the year to date. — Nimocks Haigh
The new choir robes will be ordered this week and should arrive this fall. Chris Shoobridge made a motion, seconded by Trevla Pulliam to approve serving wine at the Community Garden event. The motion passed. The meeting closed with prayer. The next Vestry meeting will be Wednesday, May 18 at 6:45 after the Parish Supper. —Susan Cardwell, clerk
As abandoned church in Gary, IN Photo by Peter Fitzgerald.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Russell Moore: A White Church No More
he center of gravity for both orthodoxy and evangelism is not among Anglo suburban evangelicals but among African Anglicans and Asian Calvinists and Latin American Pentecostals. The vital core of American evangelicalism today can be found in churches that are multiethnic and increasingly domi-
nated by immigrant communities. The next Billy Graham probably will speak only Spanish or Arabic or Persian or Mandarin. American evangelicals often use the language of “revival” — a word that is sometimes co -opted by politicians to mean a resurgence of a politically useful but watered-
down civil religion. A congregation that ignores the global church can deprive itself of revival by overlooking those places where the Spirit is working. The thriving churches of American Christianity are multigenerational, theologically robust, ethnically diverse and connected to the global church. If Jesus is
alive — and I believe that he is — he will keep his promise and build his church. But he never promises to do that solely with white, suburban institutional evangelicalism. Excerpted from “A White Church No More” by Russell Moore. Originally published 5/5/2016 by the New York Times.
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P.O. Box 1103 Statesville, NC 28687 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
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This quarter's edition is filled with stories that showcase how we as God's people can bring the church outside of its four walls and into t...
Published on May 19, 2016
This quarter's edition is filled with stories that showcase how we as God's people can bring the church outside of its four walls and into t...